On February 3, President Trump signed a memorandum asking the Department of Labor to review the new fiduciary rules that apply to retirement accounts. The next week, on February 9, the DOL filed documents that will likely result in a six-month delay of the scheduled April implementation of the rules. There have been a lot of comments circulated on the impact of a delay or any changes. And of course, debate has once again been revived on the value of these new rules. Most important, though, is what this means for 401(k) plan and participants.

Regardless of whether the fiduciary rules are implemented as written or completely discarded, the most important thing 401(k) plan sponsors should do is determine whether the investment adviser they are working with is signed on as a fiduciary to their 401(k) plan. Advisers who work for insurance companies and brokerage firms are not required to be fiduciaries when providing advice to clients. Investment advisers who work for Registered Investment Advisory (RIA) firms always have been legally required to be fiduciaries to the 401(k) plans they work with.

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